History of science, what is science? stages of science...
1. History of Science and its
relation to Sport and PE
Science is the background to the
theoretical and practical knowledge we
have acquired in sport and PE.
It is important, therefore, to understand a
little of the history of science thus
potentially gaining an appreciation of its
affects on our profession.
Alternatively, understanding science a
little better may aid in evaluating our own
no unique solution
Deduction versus Induction
Constructing a model – information, method, and
1. Knowledge may be preliminary assumptions.
2. In deductive model there may be many
3. In inductive model there may be many possible
3. Cyclical interaction between facts and theory
in scientific activities
theories deduction prediction
“Science must start
with facts and end with
facts, no matter what
theoretical structures it
builds in between.”
1. Start with observation to build upon what
2. Describe what is known
3. Use the known facts to come to general
4. Develop and test the predictions of
theories (models); deduction
5. Compare results with actual
6. Evaluate the process
7. Seek additional facts
8. Refine theories (models) and
possibly repeat the process
4. Sir Karl Popper 1902-1994
Popper suggested that science advances by
deductive falsification through a process of
"conjectures and refutations." It is
imagination and creativity, not induction,
that generates real scientific theories, which is
how Einstein could study the universe with no
more than a piece of chalk. Experiment and
observation test theories, not produce them.
Is Popper justified in assuming the Principle of
5. The origins of Science
All peoples that have ever lived have in some
way or another investigated one important
question, which is …?
What is the meaning of our existence? or put
another way, why are we here and what will
become of us all?
These questions were answered in varying
degrees by the world’s major religions and
What do these questions have to do with
6. What beliefs were necessary to
enable the development of
Why did an explosive development of
science occur in seventeenth century
Europe? This development is one of the
most significant events in human
7. Great civilisations
Great civilisations of the past and present
such as India and China, Babylon, Aztecs,
Mayans, Egypt, Greece and Rome, frequently
had well developed social structures,
magnificent architecture, drama and
philosophy but nothing remotely equivalent to
They had great skill in wood and metal,
ingenious mechanical contrivances and
perceptive philosophical speculations about
8. Great civilisations
Most of the great civilisations of the past
were able to provide all the material
requirements for the growth of science:
A leisured class
Systems of writing and mathematics
However, this was not enough.
9. What was needed for science to
An attitude to the material world that is
essential for science to flourish.
A social/political structure that will allow new
scientific ideas to flourish.
What do we need to believe to become
Essentially that the material world is worthy of
study, it is orderly and rational.
Knowledge gained must be open to the
human mind and that this order cannot purely
be obtained via pure mathematical thought
but must involve experiments.
10. What was needed for science to
In addition to these beliefs about the world itself, the
development of science depends upon a
social/political climate that allows knowledge gained to
be freely shared.
Further, it must be shown that science has helped or
improved peoples lives.
These beliefs when investigated have not occurred in
human history until seventeenth century Europe.
For example, in ancient Greece a few individuals
made an impressive start, but the social climate did
not facilitate science to become a self sustaining
11. The origins of science
Firstly, science was not distinguished from philosophy
and its roots are to be found in the early struggles to
make sense of the world.
However, before answers can be found, the right
questions need to be asked.
What methods should we use to understand nature?
How can we know that our answers are right?
Why do things change?
Is there an unchangeable reality behind the changes
that surround us?
He proposed a systematic attempt to explain
the world/universe embracing all fields of
activity from mathematics, physics and biology
to politics, art and music.
He was an exceptionally acute observer with
many of his observations not being surpassed
until the invention of the microscope.
He was mainly concerned with general
principles of nature and qualitative relations
among things and not with precise quantitative
He believed in the eternity of the world, in a
cyclical universe and that celestial matter was
incorruptible unlike terrestrial matter.
These beliefs hindered science for almost two
14. Hebraic and early Christian beliefs
The book of Genesis (book of beginnings) in
contrast to the confused creation myths of the
Greeks and other nations has a clear logical
structure expresses belief in a absolute sovereign,
rational and benevolent God.
The God of the Bible brings everything into being
by His command.
Unlike Aristotle’s belief of a Primer Mover or First
Cause (passive), God of the Bible is the cause of
the very existence (interactive/sustaining) of the
world and its continuance in being.
Therefore, the world must be rational and open to
the human mind because man was given
dominion of the world.
15. Hebraic and early Christian beliefs
The early Church contradicted the infinite series of cycles of
history by presenting Christ’s life as part of linear history with a
beginning and end.
For example, in the 3rd Century Lactantius rejected the stoic
belief that God is within nature, and the Epicurean belief that
the world is simply the product of chance, without any
providential design. That is the world was created out of
John Philoponus (6th Century) expresses the early Christian
belief by departing from Aristotle that all bodies will fall in a
vacuum at speeds irrespective of their weight and projectiles
are not moved by air but rather because they were given a
certain quantity of motion. He based his ideas on the belief that
the sun, moon and stars where given a certain kinetic force by
God. Stars where not ether but real matter thus rejecting
Aristotle’s distinction between celestial and terrestrial matter.
16. The Muslim Centuries
The Muslim civilisation dominated the middle eastern
and western world from the eight to fourteenth
Here Greek works were translated mainly by Jewish
scholars and a few Nestorian Christians that added to
the knowledge of Muslim scholars in medicine,
mathematics, astronomy and philosophy.
However, science did not flourish not because of the
lack of resources but because Islam eventually
decided that Allah dictates from instant to instant how
everything behaves destroying any rationality in
Seventeenth century Europe’s explosion of
science appears to be strongly linked to the
pre-curser of the reformation where peoples
of Europe were able to read the Bible for
themselves in their own language and realise
that God created an orderly and good world.
18. Early European science
Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253) is regarded as the founder of
modern experimental science. He recommended the problem is
first resolved into its simplest parts, and when understood the
results can be combined to give explanation to the whole.
The observations and hypotheses will be verified or disproved
by further observations and experiments. He investigated light
as God first created light. He believed light is the most
fundamental form of nature.
He noted mathematics are important but it has no objective
reality but is simply abstractions from material bodies.
He insisted on quantitative measurement based on the Biblical
insistence that there is a rational creator, who disposed
everything in measure, number and weight.
The strength of the renaissance essentially came from
understanding the motion of the heavens, via
Copernicus (1473-1543) boldly put the sun in the
centre of the solar system. Tycho Brahe (1546-16010
made careful measurements of the motions of the
planets that enabled Kepler (1571-1630) to establish
planetary orbits and the laws of planetary motion.
Meanwhile Galileo (1564-1642) worked on
fundamental dynamical concepts such as mass,
velocity, acceleration and momentum, expressing
them in a precise mathematical form, with Newton
(1642-1727) postulating his laws of motion and
Newton was strongly guided in his science by
his beliefs in the God of the Bible, for example
“God created the world in accordance with his
ideas of creation. These ideas are the pure
archetypal forms that Plato termed ideas, and
they can be understood by man as
mathematical constructs … they can be
understood by man, because man was created
as a spiritual image of God. Physics is a
reflection on the divine ideas of creation;
therefore physics is divine service.”
21. Modern science
Universities were founded by Christian institutions
where free discussion could take place, which fostered
a culture and interest in the natural world.
However, despite the beliefs of the early scientists of
the renaissance their work created scepticism
because it destroyed the cosy idea of a man-centred
world of the middle ages by a vast impersonal
machine rather than a God being ascribed to natural
From the mid-nineteenth century until today
fundamental beliefs in the origins of the universe fuel
scientific debate (c.f. Huxely-Wilberforce; Bohr-
22. How and what we believe affects our
practices in relation to science
S. African bushman are not concerned with time. They believe
the future is uncertain and uncontrollable so it Is not good to
think or worry about it. Better to live for the moment and eat
heartily when there is plenty and starve stoically when there is
Buddhism/Taoism regards separating things and regarding
ourselves as individuals as ignorant and stemming from a
disturbed mind. Buddhists believe the division of nature into
separate objects is not fundamental and any such objects have
a fluid and ever-changing character, such as space-time.
Hinduism regards truth and beauty depend upon man whereas
Einstein suggested truth is objective and independent of man.
Islam regards nature as continually changeable according to
the will of Allah.
Soviet science made incredible progress but ultimately
collapsed owing to the political ideology of communism.
Western materialism and the decline of Biblical values is also
revealing a rapid decline in scientific endeavours.
Is the argument presented valid?
What supporting or counter evidence
can you bring to the argument?
Are there other explanations for science
developing in seventeen century?